As the summer ends, the back-to-school shopping season begins (unless you’re Amazon, in which case your back-to-school microsite was live on June 27th), and a fruitful season it is. This now key event in the eCommerce calendar represents the second largest retail event of the year, and is worth $83.6 billion in the US<. A survey by the National Retail Federation forecast that this year, back-to-school shoppers plan to spend:
- $236.90 on clothing
- $187.10 on electronics such as computers, calculators or phones
- $138.66 on shoes
- $122.13 on supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes
This is clearly a lucrative opportunity for your eBusiness, and here we present four top tips to ensure your back-to-school campaigns seize it to the maximum!
1. Know What Offers Make Parents Tick
With an average of $510 dollars per child being spent, this can be an expensive time for many families. But the rise of retailers like Amazon and Walmart means the price wars amongst brands continue, allowing increasingly savvy digital consumers to get the best deals.
So, to attract these price-conscious parents, consider the following:
This is a great way of capturing the back-to-school spend. The figures speak for themselves: Deloitte found 63% of shoppers would rather purchase from an online retailer that offers free shipping over one without. Furthermore, the NRF reports that a staggering 84% of parents won’t buy online without free shipping.
Busy parents love convenience, and back-to-school bundles really cater to this. Plus, they help you move inventory fast. What’s not to like? Consider your product bundles wisely though, so that they really pack appeal. For example, you can do bundles by subject, superheroes, etc.
Retarget, Retarget, Retarget
34% of students and 27% of parents said that retargeting was the most influential online marketing strategy they encountered, with the online reminders of purchases they’d previously been considering nudging them over the line – especially if the deal offered looked too good to pass up.
Know the Trends
Emotions can run high this time of year. Kids want to impress their classmates with on-trend school gear, and are not afraid to pester parents accordingly, and persuasively — 59% of shoppers say their child’s preference is a major factor behind purchase decisions!
Carrying the season’s hottest products is essential, so make sure you are up to speed on them!
Example: The School Box & Pokémon Go
In 2015, Pokémon Go took the world by storm. In response, many retailers rode the Pokémon Go wave. For example, The School Box launched a back-to-school series featuring educational Pokémon-Go like creatures of their own.
2. Get Creative On Social
Last year, Deloitte revealed that 27% of back-to-school shoppers planned to use social media to find promotions and coupons. Here are two effective ways you can use social:
Bloggers And Influencers
Influencer marketing is becoming an invaluable component to the social strategies of many brands. Take eBags. Last year, eBags wanted to appeal to moms who had the final say in the purchase decision, so they enlisted the most popular ‘mommy bloggers’ such as Modern Mom and JessFam to provide product recommendations. Job done!
However, with thousands of influencers worldwide, always choose carefully. Here are some key questions to ask when deciding who is the right influencer for your brand:
- Do their values represent our brand values?
- Is their target audience the people we want to connect with?
- Have they worked with other brands, and what was the outcome?
- How many people are they reaching?
- Do they have an engaged community?
Be Unique With Your Content
Developing a strong content marketing strategy for back-to-school is crucial. Get brain-storming sooner rather than later. The more engaging the content, the more likely it is to go viral like Forever 21’s “Declare Your Style’ Instagram campaign. This asked customers to declare their “style rule” via Instagram with the hashtags #DeclareYourStyle and #F21Rules. Cue a sea of selfies!
Winners were awarded $1000 worth of gift cards for the crew in the photo, giving school-goers a head start on back-to-school fashion, and generating high volumes of traffic, hashtags, and brand awareness to Forever 21.
3. Create An Omnichannel Experience
The customer journey is no longer a set path. It weaves between a brand’s digital and physical presence, but must feel seamless across every touch point and every device. This is omnichannel. And increasingly, today’s consumer expects it as the norm, rewarding brands that deliver it with loyal custom.
Yet still, Retail Me Not reports that 1 in 10 retailers don’t have an omnichannel approach in place for back-to-school shoppers. With today’s young mothers more digital, more mobile and more connected through social than ever, every retailer MUST take an omnichannel approach to reach them.
4. Do It With Data
What better way to improve results than to look back on what has worked well in the past? Gone are the days of investing marketing budgets based on a gut feeling or hunch. Insights and data are now the backbone of every marketing department.
So, take time to review your back-to-school campaign data from 2017 to help identify:
- Did a particular product sell better?
- Did one marketing channel have more of an impact on sales?
- Did a particular influencer have the biggest impact?
- What partner reseller sold more?
Analysing this data means you can optimise your campaigns for conversions in 2018. However, don’t stop there. Utilise technology on hand to get more consumer insights. Google Trends, for example, helps you identify trends in search behaviour such as what search terms consumers are using, if there are any related search terms building momentum, and what competitors are ranking for.
It’s a great way for large brands to understand their brand health compared to their competitors. This kind of information can help inform where companies need to work harder to increase their influence.
Let’s say I work with Skechers, the shoe brand, and I want to see how our brand measures up with other footwear companies in Scotland. I just search for the following terms on my Google Trends search:
And instantly, I can see the top footwear queries in Scotland in the last 30 days.
Having this insight can help you allocate marketing spend wisely based on location, and you may even find some real-time marketing opportunities for your social posts while you are at it.
Google Trends also allows you to see seasonal trend searches from as far back as 2004. Remember the Pokémon Go example? Here were the searches for the previous 12 months of that campaign. The augmented reality game peaked early and then plateaued approximately 4 months later.
Don’t Miss The Bus On Your Back-To-School Marketing Campaigns!
There are so many ways your brand can take advantage of seasonal shopping surges like back-to-school. The four tips outlined here will set you in good stead to do so, but to discover more ways to optimise your seasonal campaigns, contact our team today.
Digital Marketing Manager